Back in January, Jake lost someone who was a great friend, and who he really felt understood him.
In those shock filled days that followed, I told him about a friend of mine from work. How I was sure he'd love her and she would be easy to talk to. Jake was so full of grief and anxiety that he was coming unglued. She had been around his school in the days after our friend passed, and hoping that he would be able to find someone to talk to, I encouraged him to talk to her. I assured him that he would like her; she could be trusted, I said.
"Oh Mom, she was so nice. I told her all about how my heart hurt and she made me feel so much better. I really like her!" Jake instantly connected with her gentle spirit.
In the months that followed, as Jake's heart healed, he asked about her frequently and passed litle messages of "say hi for me" now and then. She and I would run into each other at work and she'd immediately ask about Jake. Obviously he had charmed her as well, and she made a plan to visit him again before the school year ended.
"He's such a sweet kid," she used to say with a smile. "I'd love to go back and see him."
Unfortunately, she never did get to go back to visit him again.
I just found out that sometime last week, she passed away very suddenly.
How do I tell an 11 year old boy who already struggles with anxiety that a second adult that he has connected with has passed? In less then six months?
"Don't tell him." was the advice of some. I can't do that. We have always been an open and honest family, and Jake would figure out that I knew and didn't tell him. There is a memorial soon; what if he wants to attend and say goodbye? I plan to go...could I just go and not tell him?
On the other hand, I'm not sure he could take it.
Sometimes life is just SO unfair.